Creative is King: Tips for Facebook Ads and eCommerce that deliver ROA according to Reddit

Tip for Effective Advertising: Reinvent your approach and figure out why ads have gotten so weird, according to the PPC community on Reddit.

Don’t be forgettable

In this ever-evolving era of digital marketing, the importance of being creative cannot be overstated. Mediocre ads with subpar products won’t guarantee a lucrative return on ad spend (ROAS) anymore. The trend has undeniably shifted towards an emphasis on creativity in ad creation. This has really always been the case but now more than ever, with the bar set incredibly high for all content including ads, creativity reigns supreme, period.

Oh, this is actually an ad?

Successful ad strategies have increasingly leveraged user-generated content (UGC) or content that seamlessly blends with the platform’s native environment. Your objective should be to craft video ads that viewers watch almost to completion before realizing, “Oh, this is actually an ad!”

It’s good to be Weird, but don’t go too far

Don’t hesitate to test different approaches! Remember, being provocative or presenting relatable content isn’t a fresh concept in ad design. The key lies in how you tailor these tried-and-true techniques to your own creative, unique ad and how it translates to your audience. Keep in mind that while successful ads seem to be skewing toward more provoking or crass content (e.g. watching a unicorn poop rainbow ice cream thanks to the aid of a toilet step – yes this is a real and very successful ad, and you can see it below.), it’s actually just the product of an increasingly polarized society that 1. takes umbrage at being fed an overly sanitized message and 2. is forced to sit through a lot of ads. To be frank, if you are boring it’s offensive to some viewers, almost as bad as getting spam email. Or, worse yet, you just fade into the static of an endless flow of other easy-to-ignore ad content. Find a way to be weird in a safe, fun way and it will pay off every time.

Accessibility is Key

If you are venturing into video content, remember that subtitles are crucial as most viewers tend to keep the sound off. This should already be standard practice since we all know that accessibility is a requirement now and not just a nice-to-have when executing ad design or media work. Not just because it is a necessary part of good SEO it’s necessary to maintain legal minimums, and if we are being honest, it is just the right thing to do. While non-subtitled videos occasionally perform well, their success rate is comparatively low, sometimes drastically so, depending on the platform and audience. Better yet, make ad content so odd or interesting, that it convinces followers to replay it and turn on the sound.

Don’t use clip art or stock images – it’s an instant trigger for ad blindness

Creating engaging still images is important too! Views can sense stock images and clip art in less than 3 seconds and they summarily ignore all of it. Audiences have honed a key skill, ignoring ad content that is played out or over-served. Tools like Canva can help you create a unique video-like experience with your images, but tools like this can be tricky to navigate. It is easy to create something on Canva, that technically looks good, but its is dead content, meaning it’s been seen so many times it just becomes background noise. Audiences are getting better and better at ignoring recycled content.

Canva is great, but be careful of using overexposed elements or templates

Due to its ease of use and massive popularity, it has become a high-traffic tool for reproducing the same look over and over again. Many users are finding that Canva designs are so overused that it’s the visual equivalent of using clip art, and despite being technically accurate work, it’s quickly buried. Facebook, for instance, appreciates and rewards genuine, native content for ads on their platform, and Canva designers have been reporting issues with creative media that, despite being well-designed and polished, are seen as “canned” or low quality. This is not the fault of Canva of course, this has more to do with what components you are choosing on Canva. If you are selecting the same overexposed skyline shot of your city as everyone else, then it’s going to cheapen the quality of the message you have to share.

Follow the example of weird ads that win the ROI race

Creative is more important than ever. Gone are the days where you could throw up a shitty ad with a mediocre product and rake in a solid 5+ ROAS. Things have been moving toward a more creative-focused FB ad world for a while now but this year has really solidified it – creative is king. End of story. We’ve been seeing great results with more UGC-focused ad creative or content in general that seems native to the platform. Ideally, people should be near the end of your video ad before they think “Shit, this is a f*cking ad!”. If you are doing videos, make sure you have subtitles as most people watch with sound off. We’ve experimented with non-subtitle videos and they sometimes do well, but rarely. Test for yourself! Even with still images, you can make a fun and unique native-looking video easily using something like Canva. Also – Facebook will reward you for using genuine, native content for ads on their platform. Ideas: Unboxing videos, “TikTok” style outfit videos, influencer reviews, ect. Check out your favorite brand’s ads in Facebook ad library for inspiration!

Hot take from u/VinterDigital on Reddits r/PPC

“Don’t be afraid to get weird with your ads. Creative, original comedy sells.”

Harmon Brothers 

Post Photo credit: Midjourny imagine prompt, “Unicorn pooping rainbow ice cream”.

What does AI think about ads getting weird?

According to ChatGPT, the trend of “weird” or unconventional advertising in 2023 is a reflection of the continuous evolution of the advertising industry and society at large. Here are a few of the highlights on why ads have taken this unconventional turn and why it seem to work for so many advertisers and marketers:

  1. Odd ads help to Break through the Noise: With the proliferation of digital platforms and content, capturing a viewer’s attention has become increasingly difficult. Brands are compelled to create unique, offbeat, and sometimes bizarre ads to differentiate themselves and cut through the clutter.
  2. Banking on Engagement and Virality: In the age of social media, having an ad go viral (read, earned media for those in PR) can have a significant impact on brand awareness and reach. Unconventional, “weird” ads often spark conversations, shares, and engagement, thus increasing their chances of virality.
  3. Targeting Younger Audiences: Gen Z and younger millennials, who are often a target demographic for advertisers, respond well to quirky, non-traditional content that stands out. “Weird” ads can resonate with these groups as they are often more aligned with their unique sense of humor and view of the world.
  4. Authenticity and Differentiation: In an effort to be authentic and differentiate themselves from competitors, some brands intentionally push the boundaries of traditional advertising. This helps them establish a distinct brand personality.
  5. Tech Advancements and Creativity: Advances in technology have enabled advertisers to push the creative boundaries of what’s possible in an ad, resulting in unique, innovative, and sometimes “weird” executions.

Remember, while the rise of “weird” ads might seem perplexing, the goal remains the same: capture attention, engage viewers, and promote a brand or product. The measure of an ad’s effectiveness isn’t necessarily its conformity to tradition, but its success in achieving these goals.

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